Today’s gratuitous lamb picture:

The naked old people are going well. They actually make up very quickly, the greater part of the time involved is me, consulting the shape of imaginary naked old people in my head (all of the old people I know tend to wear clothes; they get cold easily) and figuring out how to cut those shapes. Despite what I said last time, I even have pictures, because one of them is also supposed to be fat, and so there is so much stuffing in the costume that it looks like something even without a person in it.

Note – if you or someone you love is, in fact, a naked old person, please don’t be offended, I’m just doing my job. Although yes, I am obviously enjoying an utterly juvenile delight in saying “naked old people” as often as possible.




There’s another chubby and also hairy-arsed one (a guy), and two skinny ones, and the other two are just kind of podgy and droopy. As appropriate. These are (did I mention before?) for LYSISTRATA, which hopefully explains everything.

Speaking of old people I know, I bought a vacuum cleaner. Yes, of course I can bring that together, would you really still be reading this blog if it didn’t come with the challenge of figuring out how the heck a) turns into b) or even f) in my mind? I didn’t think so. Here then, is my wandering and pointless story:

Like most people at one time or another, I had two grandmothers. Both were tiny and quite pretty, both were willing to let me stay at their house for at least a week every summer from quite a young age, and both ate food to stay alive and breathed oxygen. After that we pretty much run out of similarities, except that they both loved me a lot but also both ‘got along’ better with my brother once he came along. This was never actually spoken, but I had the impression that he was easier to deal with because he wasn’t weird. (This is not true. My beloved brother is really VERY strange, but is also really good at faking normalcy.)

My one grandmother was kind of dotty, but very very creative. She was (at least by the time I knew her) kind of overwhelmed by the whole ‘housekeeping’ thing – she would do laundry, and run a vacuum around at least the main room of the house now and then, and I might even have seen her dust a few times, although I wouldn’t put money on it. What she liked to do was sew, and draw, and make little dolls, and make clothes for the little dolls, and cut paper, and tat lace, and paint tiny pictures on rocks, and crochet, and… you get the idea. Also she kept budgies, and taught them to talk. And she fed the birds outside, and I’m pretty sure she talked to them too, although they never answered (that I know of).

My other grandmother was SuperHouswife. June Cleaver was eating her dust. She vacuumed all the rooms every day and also dusted, and hosed down the outside of the house, and trimmed her hedges and cleaned the patio (possibly with a vacuum) and swept the porch… and that was just the stuff she did before she started whatever she was planning to do that day. I am not kidding.

Guess who I resemble more? If you picked June, you have not been paying attention!!!

I like having a clean house. Really, I swear I do! It makes me happy! And it makes me happy to be the one cleaning it, because I get kind of creeped out by the whole ‘other person coming in to clean up my mess’ thing. I would be the one who would clean up for the cleaning lady. Or, conversely, I would not clean up for the cleaning lady, and she would shriek and run away and never be seen in this town again. Either way, I lose. Because although I do really and truly like it when my house is clean, I would on the whole rather be sewing, or making lace, or knitting, or spinning, or talking to chickens or hugging sheep. And so most of the time, those are the things I actually do, and otherwise I just kind of run a vacuum around in the places people will see, and try to convince Raven to dust. Which even works, sometimes.

And then the vacuum cleaner broke.

Now, we tend to aquire things when other people are done with them, and as a result when things break it is rarely a question of replacing a belt or tightening a nut. Things around here when they break explode, or melt, or shatter, or burst into flame, that kind of thing. Sometimes a combination of two or more of those things at once. And it’s often not the ones you would expect, either. We had one TV melt, and another melt and blow up, I had a hand-held sander that seemed to be melting while bursting into flame. The vacuum – which until this point had been a pretty decent upright – shattered, and then burst into flame. Entertaining, really.

But I live in the country, and there are animals inside and out, and frankly it was getting kind of thick in here. Something had to be done, and since the vacuum cleaner had actually decided to burst into flame while Raven was trying to see what he could do about fixing the ‘shattered’ part, it wasn’t really going to be part of the game plan. So yesterday (because I would have no idea how to make one, and also I had a gift certificate) I went out and bought a brand new, briefly shiny shopvac. It is my first new vacuum ever, and I’m very excited. I cleaned lots and lots of the house with it yesterday, and when I get done writing this I’m going to go clean more. I’ve never had a vacuum that had both reach and suction at the same time before! I may even be able to get some of the cobwebs off the three-inch stucco that some lunatic put on the eighteen-foot-high ceilings in my back room! (Someday, oh someday I will have nothing better to do, and some scaffolding, and a hammer…!)

I’m quite sure the thrill will wear off, probably very soon. But in the meantime, I’m actually getting some spring cleaning done!